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Facts

WORCESTERSHIRE

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FUN FACTS

Worcestershire is the 34th largest county or metropolitan borough in England.
Worcestershire has the 38th highest population in England.
Worcestershire is in 28th place for density of population.

  1. The Royal Connection
  2. Many of the plans surrounding the Royal Family are secret and even years afterwards they remain so. However it seems there was a plan, codenamed Rocking Horse, to move the family to Madresfield Court, a moated 12th century mansion in Worcestershire if the Germans had invaded the United Kingdom during the early years of WWII..

    The mansion is near the River Severn which could have been used as an emergency escape route or, if more time was available, the family would have been moved north to Liverpool and then overseas to Canada. Hatley Park on Vancouver Island was rumoured as the destination.

    Various members of the British army were assigned to the force protecting the Royals including about 120 Coldstream Guards and various troops driving special armoured vehicles and even Norton racing motorcycles.

    Luckily no invasion happened and the Royal Family bravely remained in London for the whole of the war, including the blitz of 1940-41.

  3. Worcestershire Eats
  4. What else could fill this space but bottles of Worcester Sauce. I have taken much of the information from the website of Lea and Perrins, the company who made the sauce back in 1837. The company was formed by two chemists, John Wheeley Lea and William Henry Perrins, and were asked by a local nobleman to make up a recipe for a sauce he had come across in India. They did and after tasting it found it totally inedible and placed it down in the cellar of their shop. Eighteen months later they discovered it had matured into a delicious sauce. They decided to put it on sale.

    Soon it was being exported all over the world and, as usual, copycat sauces began to appear. Lea and Perrins then made sure that their iconic orange label had been added to all bottles to ensure they stood out from these copycat competitors. It is almost the same label today. Their factory in Worcester opened in 1897 and they still operate from there.

    Obviously I can't tell you the mix of each ingredient but onions, garlic and anchovies are involved. I can tell you that the ingredients are matured in large barrels for eighteen months. Then they are put into a huge mixing vessel for further maturing and then the concentrated sauce is diluted and sterilised ready for bottling. As the sauce in now exported to over 130 countries around the world, this means different labels in different languages, which involves lots of careful planning before the bottles are ready to be exported.

  5. Worcestershire VIPs
  6. Seven random people who were born in Worcestershire in the last 100 years:-
    Harry Styles (Singer), Jan Pearson (Actor -Doctors and Holby City), Alistair McGowan (Impressionist and Actor), Fay Weldon (Novelist), Charles Dance (Actor), Jessica Varnish (Cyclist) and Nick Jenkins (Businessman and Dragon's Den).

  7. Now That's Weird
  8. How do you fancy having a teacher in your school who is only 12 years old? Bit weird isn't it but that's what happened in 1807 at a school in Birmingham. The teacher, born in nearby Kidderminster in Worcestershire, taught astronomy and was the son of the school's owner, Thomas Hill. The son was called Rowland (good name).

    In 1819, now aged 24, he moved his father's school from central Birmingham to Edgbaston. It was called Hazelwood school. It was also quite different from other schools at the time. Hill believed that kindness instead of caning gave rise to better discipline and science was a compulsory subject. It also had a swimming pool, defintely weird for the time

    The reason you may have heard of Rowland was that some 33 years after he was that 12-year-old teacher, he led the reform of the postal system with the introduction of a new universal posting system and the famous penny black stamp. You can read more about that here.

  9. It Happened Here
  10. The Battle of Worcester was really the final battle in the English Civil War. It took place in 1651. Charles II, technically King following the execution of his father Charles I, marched an army down from Scotland and entered the city of Worcester on August 23rd. The small parliamentary troops in Worcester withdrew to nearby Evesham. Several skirmishes occurred but the main battle took place on September 3 in fields to the west and south of Worcester.

    Charles II and his men, less than 20,000, were easily defeated by Oliver Cromwell's forces of about 30,000 men. The Parliamentary forces eventually entered Worcester and ransacked the city. Charles, meanwhile, put on a disguise and fled the city, only to appear up a tree in two weeks time, if you are reading this live, or three counties time if you're not.

    It can therefore be said that Worcestershire saw the end of the English Civil War.

  11. Richard Remembers
  12. This is called Richard remembers so I'm going to take you back to a world young cricket fans will not believe. We are in the 1960s and before. Touring teams to England came for the whole summer and played five test matches (usually Trent Bridge or Edgbaston, Lords, Headingley, Old Trafford and the Oval) and the rest of the time played three-day matches against various counties. Now I don't want you lovers of a quick 20/20 game to feel short changed but some of these county matches were amazing. In 1948 the touring Australians, under Sir Donald Bradman, scored 721 runs in a six hour day of cricket, the highest score ever in a single day in a First-Class match. Essex bowled 129 overs (just over three 20/20 games) in the day. I'm guessing there were no drinks breaks, batsmen changing their gloves every other over nor long drawn out reviews, or not out reviews perhaps.

    This, and the accompanying picture, comes about on the Worcestershire county page because traditionally that was the first county game the touring team played and the BBC, one of two channels available, often televised it. In 1961 it was my only chance to see my batting hero, Tom Graveney, as he had moved counties and, unlike today when players move everywhere, had to miss out on county cricket for a year to satisfy residency qualifications. He had moved from Gloucestershire to Worcestershire (see it is doubly relevant). On other occasions I remember this early season game being called off for flooding, see picture, as the New Road ground was prone to this.

  13. Owlbut's Birdwatch
  14. This is one of the smallest birds. It is called the Wren. It has a short tail, short, round wings but quite long legs. It has a fine beak. It's main colour is brown. It is the most common breeding bird in the UK. It can be found in words, farmland and islands and is a regular visitor to most gardens. They eat insects and spiders.

    The Wren is no more than 10cm long with a wingspan between 13 and 17cms. It weighs about 10 grams. The feathers are brown, cream and white and the legs brown and pink. The beak is short, thin and curved and greyish in colour but you can see that. Probably the easiest bird for you to spot as it can be found in cities, towns and villages.

We have asked the local Tourist Board(s) for a small contribution (50 pounds) to the cost of running this project and, in anticipation of their agreement, we are providing a link to their site(s) for the next five years. I can assure you we won't see anywhere near everything when we are there, so, if you fancy taking a trip into Worcestershire check it (them) out for some great information. Apart from anything else it will get you out in the fresh air, walking around and one day you might be over 70 and still enthusiastically mobile.

All figures the latest available as at July 2020